Tait and Kingiri Contribute to US NAS Report on Gene Drives
Joyce Tait and Ann Kingiri contributed to a recent high profile report on gene drive research from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.
Gene drives are an important emerging area of research, with the potential to deliver many societal benefits. Gene-drive modified organisms hold the promise of solving some of society’s most difficult challenges, ranging from the elimination of insect-borne diseases to the removal of alien invasive species. The fast-moving nature of this technology poses both great opportunity and questions of risk. There is a considerable amount of work still be done nationally and internationally across developed and developing countries to ensure that regulatory systems are fit for purpose, and that the countries where this technology is being used have the capacity to ensure that it does not cause harm to its people or ecosystems.
The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine convened a committee of experts from a broad range of disciplines to investigate the state of knowledge regarding gene drives and the consideration for responsible use. In June 2016, the committee produced the report, “Gene Drives on the Horizon: Advancing Science, Navigating Uncertainty, and Aligning Research with Public Values.” As members of the committee who contributed to the report, Prof Joyce Tait and Dr Ann Kingiri were particularly involved in providing their expertise from the point of view of innovation support and national and international regulatory systems.
Prof Tait said, “The report is the first to deal with the complex issues of gene drive research, bringing together questions of the capacity of the science to deliver benefits, regulatory and governance capacities nationally and internationally, and stakeholder and public perspectives. It is expected to set the pattern for future national and international initiatives related to gene drives and their governance.”